IBPSA chats with Your Pet Space, a unique boarding facility in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Owned by Dave and Joy Jones, Your Pet Space is a new facility that sets itself apart by being cage-free and offering “doggy nap time.” Joy is also a syndicated metaphysical columnist who has an urban fantasy novel coming out as well this year. We said unique!
What brings you to Las Cruces? We are originally from Cincinnati, Ohio. Having vacationed in Las Cruces over a period of several years, we loved the idea that this was where we would eventually come to begin our own business.
How long have you resided in Las Cruces? One year, and we opened officially in July.
How long have you been in the pet industry? Several years. We started as an online sales and information website about pets (now our online magazine). Personally, we cared for a pair of senior basset hounds adopted from a shelter in Oho. After they passed on, Dave longed for another Basset and after adopting three new dogs we were basically running a kennel in our home! The time was right for a career change to what we love, so we moved forward with the idea of starting our own facility.
Is this your first ownership of a pet care facility? Yes.
What first drew you to the pet services industry? Adoption of our greyhound, Seba, thoroughly educated us on the plight of some animals. And boarding of our own pets showed us what was lacking in the industry that we wanted to change, and give a fresh perspective.
What do you have to offer visitors and residents of Las Cruces? Our main focus is cage free, stress free daycare and boarding. But we also offer reiki, canine massage therapy, in home pet sitting, pet nutrition and wellness advice. We give referrals to a local animal behaviorist who focuses on reactive dogs, and for basic obedience we work with a certified local trainer. In addition, we host dogs in transition to adoption for Action Programs for Animals and Golden Retriever Rescue of El Paso.
What training do you implement for yourselves and your staff? Certifications with IBPSA, Dog Gurus, training with Cloud K 9, our local certified trainers. Our focus is on creating a low stress environment for the dogs who come to us, and not just to establish control over them, which is how most traditional kennels operate.
What sets you apart? Other than a cage free environment, doggy nap time – this is a new concept in the local pet industry. Every day at noon the facility closes its doors for three hours and creates an environment that has a sense of rest and comfort by lowering the lights, reducing noise and cuddling with the dogs in a group. Routines for dogs are very important. Repeat clients often find comfort in nap time and routine. No check ins or outs are done at this time, except in unusual circumstances. Most of our clients appreciate and abide by this—they too want their dog to get a nap, just as if he was at home.
Why did you decide to integrate it into your daily care regime? We were both trained in a traditional boarding facility as well as a cage free facility. When our own dogs were boarded in the facility that offered a naptime, they came home much less stressed. That’s what we want for our clients as well.
Do you have separated playgroups? How are they separated? We have walls that divide our space to accommodate the pets in our care. Policy is, if the dogs are happy and feel safe together- they stay together.
Groups are divided by low and high play energy–not always age, breed, or size. Some of the smaller dogs think they are Great Danes! Some of the huge dogs play very gently with the smaller ones. Mixing sizes under close supervision allows us to teach dogs in a cage free environment respect, tolerance and fun associations with all sizes. They can take this with them on walks with their owners, when going to the dog park, or when traveling.
What are your guidelines for first time visitors? The basics: bringing updated vaccination records. A new client form and FAQ section is accessible from our website. We also have clients sign a contract stating that they are ultimately responsible for their dog’s behavior. It also gives us permission in advance to seek medical care immediately if their pet is ever injured, and allows us to help if pets are ever abandoned with us by putting them up for adoption.
What are your facility goals? Animal stress reduction, fulfillment, wellbeing and safety, certification through IBPSA.
Being a new facility, and one that is cage free, how did you interact with the community? We began by attending local events, such as Dogapalooza and Pits For Peace, introducing ourselves to the local rescues, shelters and vets. We hosted an adoption fair in our building, pre-open. We joined the Chamber Of Commerce. They held a ribbon cutting for us, and suggested we contact the local media about our unique, cage free facility. As a result, two local papers came out for interviews, and a local TV station as well! A client arranged a table at the Health Expo, where we gave away free days of daycare and handouts on many aspects of pet wellness, especially stress free, cage free boarding and a directory of local holistic pet providers. The local college radio station learned about us, and talked us up—suddenly we were getting calls that people had heard about us on the radio! And now, six months later, people still call that read one of our newspaper interviews…
LAST WORD- Advice for new facility owners? Meet with your local SCORE (Senior Core of Retired Executives). They often give free or low cost basic business courses. We met one of our mentors through this program. Take a Vocation Vacation through Pivot Planet—it will give you hands on experience in the industry. We met our second mentor this way. Above all, make all of your pet industry decisions based on what’s best for the pets you serve—not your wallet and not the owner.
Your Pet Space, Inc.
“Mission Control for you and your pet”
3920 W. Picacho, Las Cruces, NM 88007
Cage Free Dog Day Care and Boarding
575-652-4404/Fax: 575-541-6187/ email: PETS@YourPetSpace.com